Vol. 176 No. #5
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More Stories from the August 29, 2009 issue

  1. Space

    Jupiter takes it on the chin

    Images reveal that an object has recently bashed into Jupiter, 15 years after the first of 21 chunks of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 struck the giant planet and created a memorable display of dark spots, waves and plumes.

  2. Life

    Allergy meds slim down obese mice

    Animal study shows over-the-counter medications lower weight and treat type 2 diabetes. The study is one of four to link type 2 diabetes with the immune system.

  3. Chemistry

    Brilliant blue for the spine

    A study in rats suggests the blue dye similar to that found in popsicles and sports drinks may prevent cell death after spinal cord injury.

  4. Space

    Galaxies going green

    An unusual group of green, pea-shaped galaxies may be nearby analogs of remote galaxies undergoing a high rate of star formation.

  5. Health & Medicine

    Throat cancer from HPV proves treatable

    Cancer of the throat caused by the human papillomavirus isn’t as deadly as such cancer that arises from other causes.

  6. Health & Medicine

    Creating fat that burns calories

    Researchers find a way to make energy-using brown fat from skin cells.

  7. Ecosystems

    Churning the numbers

    Some of the ocean’s small swimmers may be having a big impact on ocean mixing.

  8. Health & Medicine

    The not-so-dispensable spleen

    Spleen plays more roles than previously known.

  9. Life

    Bent innards give orchid its kick

    Violent pollen delivery in Catasetum flowers gets its power from temporarily deformed inner strip

  10. Earth

    On plant invaders and bat fungus

    Researchers discuss invasive species and bat-infecting fungi at the Botany & Mycology 2009 meeting

  11. Health & Medicine

    Twin towers fallout lingers

    People who were near the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, have high asthma and post-trauma stress rates years later.

  12. Life

    Tiny bird, tiny genome

    Study finds hummingbirds have pared-down DNA.

  13. Math

    Cable boxes identify bargain and lemon commercial slots

    Analysts get a closer look at television viewing habits with second-by-second data.

  14. Health & Medicine

    Adult mouse gut makes new neurons

    Scientists find newborn nerve cells in the intestines of adult mice, suggesting a new line of research for treating intestinal disorders.

  15. Life

    Death-grip fungus made me do it

    Infection may be driving ants to set their jaws in low-hanging leaves before they die.

  16. Animals

    Tool use to crow about

    A pair of new studies indicates that crows can employ tools in advanced ways, including using stones to displace water in a container and manipulating three sticks in sequence to reach food.

  17. Earth

    A source of haze

    Scientists identify how a hydrocarbon commonly emitted by plants is converted to light-scattering aerosols.

  18. Math

    Baseball by the numbers

    A new study evaluates the success of statistical analyses in determining the player with the golden glove.

  19. Earth

    Spotting danger from on high

    Airborne sensors can identify mineral outcrops and soil that may contain natural asbestos.

  20. Science Future for August 29, 2009

    September 29 MESSENGER spacecraft expected to make its third and final flyby of Mercury. Learn more at messenger.jhuapl.edu October 4–10 Celebrate World Space Week. Find local events and activities at www.worldspaceweek.org October 18–21 The Geological Society of America hosts its annual meeting in Portland, Ore. Visit www.geosociety.org/meetings/2009

  21. The Mathematical Mechanic: Using Physical Reasoning to Solve Problems by Mark Levi

    A Pennsylvania State University professor reveals how physics can simplify proofs, illustrate theorems and offer quick mathematical solutions. THE MATHEMATICAL MECHANIC: USING PHYSICAL REASONING TO SOLVE PROBLEMS BY MARK LEVI Princeton Univ., 2009, 186 p., $19.95.

  22. Summer World: A Season of Bounty by Bernd Heinrich

    A naturalist’s observations reveal that the animal world is abuzz with activity during the summer. SUMMER WORLD: A SEASON OF BOUNTY BY BERND HEINRICH Ecco, 2009, 253 p., $26.99.

  23. Kinematics: The Lost Origins of Einstein’s Relativity by Alberto A. Martínez

    This often-overlooked branch of mechanics, which describes objects’ motion, provided the foundation for special relativity, a historian argues. KINEMATICS: THE LOST ORIGINS OF EINSTEIN’S RELATIVITY BY ALBERTO A. MARTíNEZ Johns Hopkins Univ., 2009, 464 p., $65.

  24. The Wonders Inside: Bugs & Spiders by Jan Stradling

    Illustrations for a young audience detail the anatomy and the ecosystems of these creatures. THE WONDERS INSIDE: BUGS & SPIDERS BY JAN STRADLING Silver Dolphin Books, 2009, 90 p., $19.95.

  25. Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution by Nick Lane

    Review by Sid Perkins.

  26. Dark Side of the Moon: Wernher von Braun, the Third Reich, and the Space Race by Wayne Biddle

    Review by Rachel Zelkowitz.

  27. Balancing gains and threats in cardiovascular care

    Clyde W. Yancy, a cardiologist and medical director of the Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute in Dallas, became national president of the American Heart Association on July 1. He recently spoke with Science News writer Nathan Seppa. Dramatic gains in cardiovascular care in the United States risk being negated by an epidemic of obesity, diabetes […]

  28. Pearls Unstrung

    For a while, the Great Lakes weren’t connected by rivers and Niagara Falls was just a trickle.

  29. What do you see?

    Emotion may help the visual system jump the gun to predict what the brain will see.

  30. Earth

    Shaky Forecasts

    Despite past failures, geophysicists think earthquake prediction might still be possible.

  31. Letters

    Conspiratorial skepticism After achieving two degrees in psychology, I concluded that the field is largely bereft of genuine insight and simple common sense, and that it masquerades as a science, with notable exceptions here and there. Articles such as “Tracing the inner world of suspicion,” (SN: 6/20/09, p. 11) confirm and underline psychology’s essential mindlessness. […]

  32. Science Past from the issue of August 29, 1959

    Fetal sex still unknown — Expectant mothers still face the ancient and perplexing problem of whether to knit blue or pink booties, despite the advances of this scientific age. Although scientists appear to be near to perfecting a reliable method of predicting the sex of unborn babies, the present “wait and see” policy remains the […]

  33. Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life by Winifred Gallagher

    Reality consists of what you pay attention to, and new research is unraveling how the brain chooses some things over others. Penguin Press, 2009, 256 p., $25.95. Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life by Winifred Gallagher